Defendant part of big cannibal scene, detective tells court

The detective who investigated Germany’s infamous cannibal case told a court yesterday that he had stumbled upon a vast cannibal scene in Germany – involving several dentists and other professionals.

Giving evidence in the trial of Armin Meiwes, the 42-year-old computer expert who killed and ate another man, federal investigator Wilfried Fehl yesterday said the gruesome case was not an isolated one.

His officers had discovered a flourishing cannibal scene in Germany, he said, involving middle-class professionals, as well as manual workers. “We are talking about dentists, teachers, cooks, government officials and handymen,” he told the court, during the second day of Mr Meiwes’ trial for murder.

He added: “These are people who come from the middle reaches of society.”

Mr Fehl said that despite their endeavours German detectives had not been yet able to track down any more cannibal victims, following the arrest of Mr Meiwes last December. Mr Meiwes’s act was “a thing” that was “practically unimaginable” even for “experienced criminologists” like him, he admitted.

“It leads us to where thinking stops,” he said. Earlier, the court heard how on March 10, 2001 the computer expert stabbed, fried and then digested Bernd Brandes, a 43-year-old Berlin engineer he met through the internet. Mr Brandes travelled by train to Mr Meiwes’ rambling timbered farmhouse in the German town of Rotenburg after answering an advert requesting “people for slaughter”.

Before the killing, he agreed to have his penis cut off – which both men tried to eat.

Yesterday a relaxed, smiling Mr Meiwes said that it was wrong to describe his crime as murder because his victim had agreed to be killed.

He was merely guilty of “mercy killing” or “assisted suicide”, he said, adding: “I accept this is taboo. But I can justify what I did to God and the world.”

The computer expert said his biggest regret was that he hadn’t got to know his victim better before stabbing him to death in the early hours of the morning. “I didn’t want to kill or hurt anybody,” he said.

Following his arrest, detectives discovered an email from Mr Meiwes to a friend, in which he confessed he hoped to find another “victim” soon – because “flesh is everything.”

A detective who interviewed Mr Meiwes after he was caught said he appeared to have few regrets. He was even proud of his crime.

The detective added: “He was happy to be able to tell someone his story.” Yesterday, the judge hearing the case ordered the press and public to leave court so that a gruesome video made by Mr Meiwes of the killing could be shown. The video, lasting four and a half hours, showed the mutilation, death and slaughter of the victim, the judge Volker Mütze explained, as well as a sexual offence. Finishing his testimony yesterday, Mr Meiwes pointed out that after stabbing Mr Brandes he hadn’t killed anybody else. He added, however: “I would have done, though, if the opportunity had presented itself.”

The trial continues.


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The Guardian, UK
Dec. 9, 2003
Luke Harding in Berlin
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Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday December 9, 2003.
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